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Firms voice fears at hike in business rate

MORE than 4,000 premises in Solihull could face an increase on their

MORE than 4,000 premises in Solihull could face an increase on their

business rates if the government decides to introduce a new law.

Civil servants are pushing ahead with the Business Rates Supplements Bill which could see a stark rise in rates for local firms.

It would mean a supplementary rate being added on top of current bills.

The proposed increase comes at a time when businesses are already preparing for a painful five per cent rise in April, as well as struggling to deal with the current downturn in the economy.

In Solihull the average bill in 2008-09 was £23,290, raising a total of £98m a year in tax from local firms, which is handed straight over to central government.

Due to the impending five per cent rise, these bills in Solihull will hit an average of £24,455 from April.

If a supplementary business rate were imposed on top, this could push the average bill on local firms to a record £25,506 a year.

According to the Government, supplementary business rates could increase taxes by up to £600 million a year if levied by every local authority.

But Councillor Ken Hawkins, who is cabinet member for resources is against the idea, and said: “We do anything that benefits the long-term economic growth in the area.

“But now is not the right time to put any sort of levy on business rates no matter what the benefits are of this bill.”

Maggie Throup, Solihull’s prospective Tory MP, is also against the idea, and said that it will be a ‘‘kick in the teeth’’ for firms.

 

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